A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It was first serialized in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine from February–July, 1912. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th-century pulp fiction. It is also a seminal instance of the planetary romance, a subgenre of science fantasy that became highly popular in the decades following its publication. Its early chapters also contain elements of the Western. The story is set on Mars, imagined as a dying planet with a harsh desert environment. This vision of Mars was based on the work of the astronomer Percival Lowell, whose ideas were widely popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th-century science fiction writers, including Jack Vance, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, and John Norman. The series was also inspirational for many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan, who read A Princess of Mars when he was a child.

A Princess of Mars
Princess of Mars large
AuthorEdgar Rice Burroughs
Original titleUnder the Moons of Mars
IllustratorFrank E. Schoonover
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fantasy
PublisherA. C. McClurg
Publication date
1912 (serialized)
1917 (hardcover)
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pagesxii, 326
Followed byThe Gods of Mars 

Plot summary

John Carter, a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, goes prospecting in Arizona immediately after the war's end. Having struck a rich vein of gold, he runs afoul of the Apaches. While attempting to evade pursuit by hiding in a sacred cave, he is mysteriously transported to Mars, called "Barsoom" by its inhabitants. Carter finds that he has great strength and superhuman agility in this new environment as a result of its lesser gravity and lower atmospheric pressure. He soon falls in with a nomadic tribe of Green Martians, or Tharks, as the planet's warlike, six-limbed, green-skinned inhabitants are known. Thanks to his strength and martial prowess, Carter rises to a high position in the tribe and earns the respect and eventually the friendship of Tars Tarkas, one of the Thark chiefs.

The Tharks subsequently capture Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, a member of the humanoid red Martian race. The red Martians inhabit a loose network of city-states and control the desert planet's canals, along which its agriculture is concentrated. Carter rescues Dejah Thoris from the green men in a bid to return her to her people.

Subsequently, Carter becomes embroiled in the political affairs of both the red and green Martians in his efforts to safeguard Dejah Thoris, eventually leading a horde of Tharks against the city-state of Zodanga, the historic enemy of Helium. Winning Dejah Thoris' heart, he becomes Prince of Helium, and the two live happily together for nine years. However, the sudden breakdown of the Atmosphere Plant that sustains the planet's waning air supply endangers all life on Barsoom. In a desperate attempt to save the planet's inhabitants, Carter uses a secret telepathic code to enter the factory, bringing an engineer along who can restore its functionality. Carter then succumbs to asphyxiation, only to awaken back on Earth, left to wonder what has become of Barsoom and his beloved.


  • John Carter: An Earthman from Virginia with a mysterious background, Captain John Carter fought in the American Civil War on the Confederate side.[1] At the end of the war he goes prospecting for gold in Arizona. After various adventures, including an attack by Apaches, he is miraculously transported to Mars. During his nine years on that planet he effectively disappears from Earth and is believed dead, but he re-emerges in New York in 1876, settling in a house overlooking the Hudson River. He apparently dies again in 1886, leaving instructions for a fictionalized Burroughs, who refers to Carter as his Uncle Jack, to entomb him in a crypt. He also leaves Burroughs with the manuscript of A Princess of Mars, with instructions not to publish it for another 21 years.[2] John Carter states that he has no memory before the age of 30 and has always appeared the same, without aging. He is adept at strategy, horsemanship, and all weapons, including firearms and swords. He is 6'2" tall, clean-shaven, with close-cropped black hair and steel gray eyes.[1] He is honorable, courageous, and eternally optimistic, even in the face of certain death.[3] From the Green Martians he received the name "Dotar Sojat," after the first two green warriors whom he slew after his advent on Barsoom. He sometimes uses this name as an alias in later books of the Martian series.
  • Dejah Thoris: A red Martian princess of Helium, she is courageous, resolute, and frequently in mortal danger or under threat of dishonor by the evil designs of a succession of villains. She is the daughter of Mors Kajak, Jed (chieftain) of Lesser Helium, and the granddaughter of Tardos Mors, Jeddak (overlord or high king) of Helium. As such she is highly aristocratic and fiercely proud of her heritage.[4] Introduced early in the novel, she immediately becomes the love interest of John Carter.[5] As a central character in the first three Barsoom novels, her frequent capture by various enemies, and subsequent pursuit by John Carter, is a constant motivating element in their plots.
  • Tars Tarkas: A fierce Green Martian warrior from the tribe of Thark, he is unusual among his race for his ability to experience tender emotions such as friendship and love. His emotional development stems from a forbidden love affair in his youth, when he secretly began a partnership with a Green Martian woman named Gozava. He befriends John Carter and later fights at his side. Carter helps him become Jeddak of Thark and negotiates an alliance between the Green Martians and the city-state of Helium, which results in the destruction of Helium's enemy, Zodanga.[2] Tars Tarkas more than once displays an ironic sense of humor; he mocks John Carter's perception of himself as "a cruel green warrior" while fighting beside him, and in The Gods of Mars he comments on the disappointment of Barsoomian hopes for the afterlife.
  • Tal Hajus: Jeddak (king) of the Tharks, who years previously had ordered Gozava's death.
  • Sola: Daughter of Tars Tarkas and a friend of John Carter, she teaches him the Barsoomian language and the history of her race, as well as the secret of her own parentage. She appears in the immediate sequels to A Princess of Mars, but has no role in later books of the series.
  • Sarkoja: A Green Martian woman whose intrigues resulted in the death of Gozava and who schemes against John Carter. After Carter tells Tars Tarkas about her role in Gozava's death, she is frightened into a self-imposed exile and never heard from again.
  • Kantos Kan: A warrior of Helium who escapes a Warhoon prison with John Carter. By the beginning of the second book, Kantos Kan is the chief commander of Helium's navy.



Burroughs began work on A Princess of Mars in the summer of 1911 when he was 35.[6] He wrote most of the first half of the novel while working for his brother in a stationery company, penning the words on scratch pads produced by the business.[7] He had been struggling for some time to establish himself as a businessman, so far with little success, and with a wife and two children to support, turned to writing in desperate need of income. Despite failure in his business affairs, he had accumulated a wealth of unusual experiences from working a variety of jobs which had brought him into contact with miners, soldiers, cowboys, and Native Americans.[6]

Initial drafting

While writing A Princess of Mars, Burroughs initiated what soon became a regular writing tool - maintaining worksheets relating to the piece he was completing. The sheets included start and end dates of writing, titles of chapters, and characters.[8] By August 11, 1911, he had completed a large section of the novel. He was apprehensive about revealing what he was working on, and told only his wife that he was doing so. He still hoped to find business success, and thought the tale to be indicative of a childish nature, and so outlandish that potential business contacts would think him ungrounded if they discovered what he was working on. At this point he had already decided to adopt the pen name of "Normal Bean", an attempt to suggest that despite the incredible nature of his story, he was still a sane, reliable character. He struggled to find an appropriate title for the novel: My First Adventure of Mars, The Green Martians, and Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess were all early attempts to solve this problem.[9]

Submission for publication

Before completing the novel, he considered options for publishing, and realized he knew little about this world or how to submit a story. Because he liked and was familiar with The All-Story magazine, he submitted 43,000 words to the editor under the title "Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess." His cover letter explained that he thought he could produce another two parts of similar length. The Managing Editor of the magazine, Thomas Newell Metcalf, wrote back on August 24, 1911, to offer some criticisms of the pacing and focus of the tale, and suggested omitting the chapter "Sola Tells Me Her Story" (it was restored in the novel); he suggested that if Burroughs could finish the novel at under 70,000 words, he (Metcalf) would consider publishing it.[10] After further work on the novel, and further correspondence with Metcalf, which included suggestions for plot devices and structural changes, Burroughs submitted the finished novel. On November 4, 1911, Burroughs received the acceptance letter from Metcalf, offering $400 for the serialization rights, with the request to change the title and further edit the opening section of the novel.[11]



Under the Moons of Mars
The original publication of "Under the Moons of Mars" in The All-Story, February 1912

When Burroughs received his acceptance letter from Thomas Metcalf of The All-Story, Metcalf said that the serial would be published under the title "In the Moons of Mars". However, when the first part of the serialization appeared in the February 1912 edition of The All-Story, it bore the title "Under the Moons of Mars".[11]

For the publication of the serial, Burroughs used the pen name "Normal Bean", which he selected as a pun to stress that he was in his right mind, as he feared ridicule for writing such a fantastic story. The effect was spoiled by a typesetter who interpreted "Normal" as a typographical error and changed it to "Norman."[12]


By 1914, Burroughs had become very popular with the reading public, and A.C. McClurg & Company decided to print a number of his formerly serialized tales as novels. McClurg began with three Tarzan novels, and then published A Princess of Mars on October 10, 1917.[13] Although Metcalf thought that the chapter "Sola Tells Me Her Story" slowed the story's pace, and thus omitted it from the magazine serialization, this chapter was restored for the novel version.[10] The novel was illustrated by Frank E. Schoonover, who carefully read the descriptive passages on the costumes and weapons of Barsoom and developed an overall concept for the artwork, even ensuring that John's Carter's pistol and belt in his cover illustration reflected their origins in Green Martian craftsmanship.[14]


A Princess of Mars was one of the few works for which Burroughs, in his inexperience as a new writer, relinquished all serialization rights. Others included the sequel The Gods of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes.[15]


While the novel is often classed as science fantasy, it also belongs to the subgenre of planetary romance, which has affinities with fantasy [16] and sword and sorcery; it is distinguished by its inclusion of scientific (or pseudo-scientific) elements.[17] Planetary romances take place primarily on the surface of an alien world, and they often include sword-fighting and swashbuckling; monsters; supernatural elements such as telepathic abilities (as opposed to magic); and cultures that echo those of Earth in pre-industrial eras, especially with dynastic or theocratic social structures. Spacecraft may appear, but are usually not central to the story; this is a key difference from space opera, in which spacecraft are usually key to the narrative. While there are earlier examples of this genre, A Princess of Mars and its sequels are the best known, and they were a dominant influence on subsequent authors. Initially published in magazines with general readership, by the 1930s the planetary romance had become very popular in the emerging science fiction pulp magazines.[16]

The novel can also be classified as the closely related genre sword and planet, which consists of what are essentially sword and sorcery stories that take place on another planet. A Princess of Mars is widely considered to be the archetypal novel of the sword and planet genre.

The novel also shares a number of elements of Westerns, such as desert settings, women taken captive, and a climactic life-or-death confrontation with the antagonist.[18]


All story 191202
"Under the Moons of Mars" was one of the few Burroughs stories not cover-featured on its first magazine publication.

Burroughs employs a literary device for A Princess of Mars to which he returned to in several sequels—introducing the novel as though it were a factual account passed on to him personally. In this case he frames John Carter as an avuncular figure known to his family who has given him the manuscript earlier, and instructed him not to publish it for 21 years.[19] Burroughs used the same device in the sequels, The Gods of Mars, The Chessmen of Mars and Swords of Mars.[20] In The Chessmen of Mars, Burroughs even includes a reference to the chess games he played with his real life assistant, John Shea, while writing the novel.[21]


A Princess of Mars is similar to many of Burroughs' tales. Characterized by copious violent action, it is basically a travelogue, a tale of a journey and various encounters on that journey, which does not necessarily have a defined plot. It is also a captivity narrative, involving a civilized hero being captured by an uncivilized culture and being forced to adapt to the primitive nature of the captors to survive.[22]

As is the case with the majority of the Barsoom novels to follow, it portrays a hero facing impossible odds and forced to fight a range of lurid creatures in order to win the love of the heroine.[23] Burroughs' Barsoom is also morally unambiguous; there is no sense of moral relativity and characters are either good or evil. The tale portrays a hero with a sense of honor transcending race or politics. Compassion, loyalty and bravery are celebrated, and callousness, deception, and cowardice are frowned upon.[24]


The novel's vision of Mars was inspired by astronomical speculations of the time, especially those of Percival Lowell, who saw the planet as a formerly Earth-like world now becoming inhospitable to life because of its advanced age.[25] According to the Barsoomians themselves, Mars was a lush world with global oceans just one million years before the present day. As the oceans evaporated and the atmosphere thinned, the planet devolved into partial barbarism.[26] Living on a dying planet, with dwindling resources, the inhabitants of Barsoom have become hardened and warlike, constantly fighting one another to survive.[27]

Barsoomians distribute scarce water via a worldwide system of canals, controlled by quarreling city-states. The thinning Martian atmosphere is artificially replenished by an "atmosphere plant" on which all life on the planet depends.[28] The days are warm and the nights are cold, and climate varies little across the planet, except at the poles.[29]

Scientific background

In 1895 Percival Lowell published a book entitled Mars which speculated about an arid, dying landscape, whose inhabitants had been forced to build canals thousands of miles long to bring water from the polar caps to irrigate the remaining arable land.[25] Lowell built upon ideas introduced by Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, who in 1877, observed geological features on Mars which he called canali (Italian for "channels"). This was mistranslated into the English as "canals" which, being artificial watercourses, fueled the belief that there was some sort of intelligent extraterrestrial life on the planet.[30]

In the early 20th century Lowell published two more books, further developing the concept of a dying Mars. Burroughs was aware of these theories and appears to have consciously followed them. However, Burroughs does not seem to have based his vision of Mars on precise reading of Lowell's theories, as there are a number of errors in his interpretation which suggest he may have got most of his information from reading newspaper articles and other popular accounts of Lowell's Mars.[31]

The ideas of canals with flowing water and an inhabited, if dying world, were later disproved by more accurate observation of the planet, and fly-bys and landings by Russian and American probes such as the two Viking missions which found a dead, frozen world where water could not exist in a liquid state.[25]


The first science fiction to be set on Mars may be Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record, by Percy Greg, published in 1880. An 1897 novel by Kurd Lasswitz, Auf Zwei Planeten, dealt with benevolent Martians arriving on Earth, but as it was not translated until 1971 it is unlikely that Burroughs knew of it.[32]

H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds (1898) was influenced, as was Burroughs' novel, by the ideas of Percival Lowell starting with publication of the book Mars (1895). It depicted Mars as an ancient world, nearing the end of its life, home to a superior civilization capable of advanced feats of science and engineering.[25][33] Burroughs, however, claimed never to have read any of H. G. Wells' books.[34]

It is possible, as Richard A. Lupoff argues in the book Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, that Burroughs took some inspiration from the 1905 novel Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, by Edwin Lester Arnold, which also featured an American military man transported to Mars. Lupoff also suggested John Carter has strong similarities to Phra, hero of Arnold's The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician (1890), who is also a master swordsman who appears to be immortal.[35]


This book and its series are noted as early inspiration by many later science fiction authors including Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury. Bradbury admired Burroughs' stimulating romantic tales, and they were an inspiration for his The Martian Chronicles (1950), which used some similar conceptions of a dying Mars.[36][37] Burroughs' Barsoom novels have also been cited as a model for H. P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.[38] Frederik Pohl paid homage to the novel in his 1972 short story, "Sad Solarian Screenwriter Sam," although it is a backhanded compliment: the story so offends the actual Martians, they obliterate the Earth (as the Martians attempt to do in The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells).

Others influenced by Burroughs and his John Carter books include James Cameron, who mentioned the influence on his science-fiction epic Avatar in The New Yorker magazine,[39] and George Lucas, whose Star Wars movies were influenced by Flash Gordon, which in turn was influenced by Burroughs.[40] Also, author Michael Crichton named a character after John Carter.[41] John Barnes's novel In the Hall of the Martian King features a space shuttle named John Carter. The ninth book in Diane Duane's Young Wizards series was titled A Wizard of Mars as reference to this book.

Burroughs' Barsoom series was popular with American readers, helping inspire their support for the US Space Program, and also scientists who grew up on reading the novels. These include pioneers of space exploration research and the search for life on other planets. Scientist Carl Sagan read the books as a young boy, and they continued to affect his imagination into his adult years; he remembered Barsoom as a "world of ruined cities, planet girding canals, immense pumping stations—a feudal technological society". For two decades a map of the planet, as imagined by Burroughs, hung in the hallway outside of Sagan's office in Cornell University.[33] Author-Illustrator Mark Rogers also lampooned the Barsoom series in the second Samurai Cat book.

For the novel's centennial anniversary, Library of America has published a hardcover edition based on the original book in April 2012 with an introduction by Junot Díaz (ISBN 978-1-59853-165-7). There's also Lin Carter's Callisto stories which are partially a homage to John Carter.


The American frontier

A Princess of Mars has many similarities to Westerns, including a desert setting, a heroine taken captive, and a showdown with the antagonist.[18] Burroughs worked as a soldier at Fort Grant, Arizona, where he patrolled the desert to protect white settlers. During this time he gained a great respect for American Indians and their warriors, such as Geronimo.[42] Barsoom resembles a kind of Martian Wild West. Indeed, John Carter is an adventuring frontiersman who is cornered by Apache warriors in the Arizona desert before his transition to Mars. When he arrives there, he discovers a savage, frontier world with scarce resources, where strength is respected, and where the civilized Red Martians maintain their racial vigor by repelling the constant attacks of the Green Martians. The latter are a barbaric, nomadic, tribal culture with many parallels to American Indians.[43]

A nostalgic desire to return to the frontier became a common theme in the United States during the early twentieth century. In the Disney movie John Carter, Bryan Cranston portrays a U.S. Cavalry Major who tries to convince John Carter to fight American Indians. As the nation become more urbanized, the 19th-century frontier was romanticized as a lost world of freedom and noble savagery.[27] Similar ideas may be reflected in the fate of the ancient white race of Mars, which is mentioned in A Princess of Mars and reintroduced in a later Martian novel, Llana of Gathol; they are described as having become weak and degenerate through their dependence on the trappings and comforts of civilization.[44]


Race is a constant theme in the Barsoom novels, as Barsoom is distinctly divided along racial lines. White, Yellow, Black, Red, and Green races appear in various novels of the series, each with ethnic qualities that often seem to define their individual representatives.[44] Although John Carter is able to befriend the Green Martian Tars Tarkas, who shows noble qualities, Tarkas is called an exception to the rule, and remains a noble savage.[45] John Carter himself is white-skinned, so that Barsoomians sometimes identify him with their own surviving White race, known as the Holy Therns; for example, Carter successfully impersonates a Thern named Sator Throg in The Gods of Mars. Carter's unusual appearance and un-Barsoomian strength and agility make him a kind of mythic figure, capable of achievements that no Barsoomian could manage.[44]

Red Martians

The Red Martians have created the dominant culture on Barsoom. They are organized into imperial city-states that control the planetary canal system, as well as more isolated states in the hinterlands.

The Red Martians are hybrids of the ancient Yellow Martians, White Martians, and Black Martians, who joined forces when the seas of Barsoom began to dry up; their union created a hardy race capable of surviving in a dying world.[26][46]

They are, like all the humanoid races of Mars, oviparous, i.e., their newborn hatch from eggs.[47]

The Red Martians, like the Green Martians, eschew clothing, going nude except for jewelry and other ornamentation. In Chapter 11, Dejah Thoris derides Earth men, who "almost without exception, cover their bodies with strange, unsightly pieces of cloth."[48]

The Red Martians are honorable and highly civilized; they respect private property and have a keen sense of fairness. Their culture is lawful and technologically advanced, and they are capable of love and family life.[44] The chief crime in their cities is assassination.

Green Martians

The Green Martians are 15 feet tall, Burroughs wrote, adding from John Carter's observation of newly hatched children,

They seemed mostly head, with little scrawny bodies, long necks and six legs, or, as I afterward learned, two legs and two arms, with an intermediary pair of limbs which could be used at will either as arms or legs. Their eyes were set at the extreme sides of their heads a trifle above the center and protruded in such a manner that they could be directed either forward or back and also independently of each other, thus permitting this queer animal to look in any direction, or in two directions at once, without the necessity of turning the head.

The ears, which were slightly above the eyes and closer together, were small, cup-shaped antennae, protruding not more than an inch on these young specimens. Their noses were but longitudinal slits in the center of their faces, midway between their mouths and ears.

There was no hair on their bodies, which were of a very light yellowish-green color....[49]

They are nomadic, warlike, and barbaric; do not form families; have discarded concepts of friendship and affection (presumably in the name of survival); and enjoy torture. Their social structure is communal and rigidly hierarchical, with various levels of chiefs. The highest rank is the all-powerful Jeddak, who reaches this position through combat. They are tribal, and war among one another.[2][44] They are primitive, intellectually backwards, and have no art or written language. Any advanced technology they possess is stolen from the Red Martians. They inhabit the ancient ruined cities of Barsoom.[27]

The series

  1. A Princess of Mars (1917) (Project Gutenberg ebook)
  2. The Gods of Mars (1918) (ebook)
  3. The Warlord of Mars (1919) (ebook)
  4. Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920) (ebook)
  5. The Chessmen of Mars (1922) (ebook)
  6. The Master Mind of Mars (1928) (ebook)
  7. A Fighting Man of Mars (1931) (ebook)
  8. Swords of Mars (1936) (ebook)
  9. Synthetic Men of Mars (1940) (ebook)
  10. Llana of Gathol (1948) (ebook)
  11. John Carter of Mars (1964) (ebook)


The copyright for this story has expired in the United States and, thus, resides in the public domain there. The text is available from Project Gutenberg. In anticipation of the 2012 Disney film John Carter, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. trademarked the phrases "John Carter of Mars," "Princess of Mars," and "Barsoom," among others, despite the Dastar decision of the United States Supreme Court, which invalidates trademark on public domain works.

Film adaptations

The Asylum released a feature-length direct-to-DVD film based on the novel, titled Princess of Mars, on December 29, 2009.

A full-length feature film of the novel had been attempted and aborted many times. Its working title was originally A Princess of Mars, but it was renamed John Carter of Mars and then simply John Carter during pre-production. It was originally due in 2006, with Jon Favreau (Zathura, Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) as director and Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News as producer. John Carter was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Andrew Stanton. Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins, who appeared together in the 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, play John Carter and Dejah Thoris. Willem Dafoe, Polly Walker, and James Purefoy play Tars Tarkas, Sarkoja, and Kantos, respectively. The film's U.S. release date was March 9, 2012. This film holds the world record for being the most expensive live-action 3D film, with a budget of $250 million (£166 million).[50]


  1. ^ a b Sampson: 177.
  2. ^ a b c Bleiler & Bleiler: 96.
  3. ^ Holtsmark: 21.
  4. ^ Holtsmark: 28-9.
  5. ^ Holtsmark: 22.
  6. ^ a b Porges: 2-3.
  7. ^ Porges: 110.
  8. ^ Porges: 192.
  9. ^ Porges: 4.
  10. ^ a b Porges: 6.
  11. ^ a b Porges: 7.
  12. ^ Stecopoulos & Uebel: 170.
  13. ^ Porges: 291.
  14. ^ Porges: 293.
  15. ^ Porges: 156.
  16. ^ a b Westfahl: 37.
  17. ^ Harris-Fain, p. 147.
  18. ^ a b White, p. 143.
  19. ^ Bainbridge: 131.
  20. ^ Porges: 144.
  21. ^ Porges: 163.
  22. ^ Sharp: 93-4.
  23. ^ Sampson: 183.
  24. ^ Hogan, p. xvi.
  25. ^ a b c d Baxter: 186-7.
  26. ^ a b Bainbridge: 132.
  27. ^ a b c Sharp: 94.
  28. ^ Slotkin: 205.
  29. ^ Clareson: 230-32.
  30. ^ Seed: 546.
  31. ^ Clareson: 229-230.
  32. ^ Hotakainen, p. 205.
  33. ^ a b Basalla: 90–91.
  34. ^ Holtsmark: 38.
  35. ^ Lupoff, pp. vii–xvi.
  36. ^ Dick, pp. 239-240.
  37. ^ Parrett, pp. xiii-xvi.
  38. ^ Price, pp. 66-68.
  39. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/26/091026fa_fact_goodyear
  40. ^ http://moongadget.com/origins/flash.html
  41. ^ https://www.buzzfeed.com/johncarter/9-surprising-things-you-didnt-know-about-edgar-ri
  42. ^ Rabkin, p. 125.
  43. ^ Sharp: 93-96.
  44. ^ a b c d e Slotkin: 203-5.
  45. ^ Sharp: 95.
  46. ^ Bleiler & Bleiler: 95-101.
  47. ^ http://www.erblist.com/abg/redmen.html
  48. ^ http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/pmars-XI.html
  49. ^ Burroughs, Edgar Rice. "Chapter III: My Advent on Mars". A Princess of Mars.
  50. ^ Glenday, Craig. Guinness World Records 2014. p. 205. ISBN 9781908843159.
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  • White, Craig (2006). Student Companion to James Fenimore Cooper. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33413-7.

External links


Barsoom is a fictional representation of the planet Mars created by American pulp fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The first Barsoom tale was serialized as Under the Moons of Mars in 1912, and published as a novel as A Princess of Mars in 1917. Ten sequels followed over the next three decades, further extending his vision of Barsoom and adding other characters. The first five novels are in the public domain in U.S., and the entire series is free around the world on Project Gutenberg Australia, but the books are still under copyright in most of the rest of the world.

The Barsoom series, where John Carter in the late 19th century is mysteriously transported from Earth to a Mars suffering from dwindling resources, has been cited by many well known science fiction writers as having inspired and motivated them in their youth, as well as by key scientists involved in both space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life. Elements of the books have been adapted by many writers, in novels, short stories, comics, television and film.

Dejah Thoris

Dejah Thoris is a fictional character and princess of the Martian city-state/empire of Helium in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. She is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son Carthoris and daughter Tara. She plays the role of the conventional damsel in distress who must be rescued from various perils, but is also portrayed as a competent and capable adventurer in her own right, fully capable of defending herself and surviving on her own in the wastelands of Mars.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American fiction writer best known for his celebrated and prolific output in the adventure and science-fiction genres. Among the most notable of his creations are the jungle hero Tarzan, the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter and the fictional landmass within Earth known as Pellucidar. Burroughs' California ranch is now the center of the Tarzana neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Frank Schoonover

Frank Earle Schoonover (August 19, 1877 – September 1, 1972) was an American illustrator who worked in Wilmington, Delaware. A member of the Brandywine School, he was a contributing illustrator to magazines and did more than 5,000 paintings.

John Carter, Warlord of Mars

John Carter, Warlord of Mars is a comics series published from 1977 by American company Marvel Comics. Created by Marv Wolfman (writer) and Gil Kane (penciller), it was based on the Barsoom series of Edgar Rice Burroughs and featured the eponymous character.

The entire series (with few exceptions) takes place between the third and fourth paragraphs of chapter 27 of Burroughs' novel A Princess of Mars.

The series ran from 1977 to 1979. In 1978 it won the "Favourite New Title" Eagle Award.

John Carter (film)

John Carter is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Andrew Stanton from a screenplay written by Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon. The film was produced by Jim Morris, Colin Wilson, and Lindsey Collins, and is based on A Princess of Mars, the first book in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch in the title role, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Willem Dafoe. The film chronicles the first interplanetary adventure of John Carter and his attempts to mediate civil unrest amongst the warring kingdoms of Barsoom.

Several developments on a theatrical film adaptation of the Barsoom series emerged throughout the 20th century from various major studios and producers, with the earliest attempt dating back to the 1930s. Most of these efforts, however, ultimately stalled in development hell. In the late-2000s, Walt Disney Pictures began a concerted effort to develop a film adaptation of Burroughs' works, after a previously abandoned venture by the studio in the 1980s. The project was driven by Stanton, who had pressed Disney to renew the screen rights from the Burroughs estate. Stanton became director in 2009; this was his live-action debut, as his previous directorial work for Disney included the Pixar animated films, Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL-E (2008). Filming began in November 2009, with principal photography underway in January 2010, wrapping seven months later in July 2010. Michael Giacchino composed the film's musical score.John Carter was released in the United States on March 9, 2012, marking the centennial of the titular character's first appearance. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, and conventional formats. Upon release, John Carter received a mixed critical reception, with praise for its visuals, Michael Giacchino's soundtrack and action sequences, but criticism toward the characterization and plot. The film flopped at the North American box office, but set an opening-day record in Russia. It grossed $284 million at the worldwide box office, resulting in a $200 million writedown for Disney. With a total cost of $350 million, including an estimated production budget of $263 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Due to the film's poor box office performance, Disney cancelled plans for a sequel (titled John Carter: The Gods of Mars) and trilogy Stanton had planned.

John Carter of Mars

John Carter of Mars is a fictional Virginian—a veteran of the American Civil War—transported to Mars and the initial protagonist of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories. His character is enduring, having appeared in various media since his 1912 debut in a magazine serial. The 2012 feature film John Carter marked the 100th anniversary of the character's first appearance.

List of films set on Mars

There is a body of films that are set on the planet Mars. In the late 19th century, people erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars. Into the early 20th century, additional observations of Mars fed people's interest in what was called "Mars fever". One of the earliest films to be set on Mars was the short film A Trip to Mars (1910), which was produced by one of Thomas Edison's film companies. In the 1920s through the 1960s, more films featured Mars or extraterrestrial Martians. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Mariner program and the Viking program revealed new scientific details about Mars that showed little prospect for life. The Guardian said, "These disappointing discoveries changed the place of Mars on humanity's mental map. Films began to reflect this." Films such as Total Recall (1990) and Red Planet (2000) focused more on the colonization of Mars by humans.The Guardian, reporting on the release of John Carter (2012), said, since 1995, six films featuring Mars performed poorly at the box office. Wired, reporting on the release of The Martian (2015), said prior films set on Mars—Red Planet, Mission to Mars (2000), and The Last Days on Mars (2013)—were "notable flops" that were the most recent in a "dismal track record of Mars movies". The Atlantic called The Martian "the subgenre's newest and best entry", citing the positive reviews and strong box office returns on opening weekend. It said, "Many films seek to dramatize the Red Planet’s harsh landscape as a romantic frontier, but The Martian is one that actually succeeds."

Princess of Mars

Princess of Mars (retitled and re-released in 2012 as John Carter of Mars) is a 2009 direct-to-DVD science fiction film made by American independent studio The Asylum, loosely based on the 1917 novel A Princess of Mars by author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film's promotional art mentions how the original story inspired some elements of James Cameron's Avatar, but the credits or promotional material of the film do not mention Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is not to be confused with the higher-budget 2012 film John Carter, which is also an adaptation of the novel. In Europe, the film was released with the title The Martian Colony Wars.

Scientific romance

Scientific romance is an archaic term for the genre of fiction now commonly known as science fiction. The term originated in the 1850s to describe both fiction and elements of scientific writing, but has since come to refer to the science fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, primarily that of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle. In recent years, the term has come to be applied to science fiction written in a deliberately anachronistic style, as a homage to or pastiche of the original scientific romances.

Scott Brick

Scott Brick (born (1966-01-30)January 30, 1966 in Santa Barbara, California) is an American actor, writer and award-winning narrator of over 800 audiobooks, including popular titles such as Washington: A Life, Moneyball, Cloud Atlas, A Princess of Mars, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Atlas Shrugged, Sideways, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (filmed as Blade Runner), I, Robot, Mystic River, Helter Skelter, Patriot Games, Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time), In Cold Blood, the Dune series, Ender's Game, and Fahrenheit 451. He has narrated works for a number of high-profile authors, including Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Clive Cussler, Stephen J. Cannell, William Faulkner, Nelson DeMille, Brad Meltzer, Harlan Coben, Gregg Hurwitz, David Baldacci, Orson Scott Card, Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Joseph Finder, Stephen R. Donaldson, Nathaniel Philbrick, Terry Brooks, Steve Berry, Gene Wilder, Philip K. Dick, Dennis Lehane, Douglas J. Preston, Lincoln Child, Ayn Rand, Justin Cronin and Isaac Asimov, among others.

Sword and planet

Sword and planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring humans as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand-to-hand combat primarily with simple melée weapons such as swords, even in a setting that often has advanced technology. Although there are works that herald the genre, such as Percy Greg's Across the Zodiac (1880) and Edwin Lester Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905; published in the US in 1964 as Gulliver of Mars), the prototype for the genre is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs originally serialized by All-Story in 1912 as "Under the Moons of Mars".The genre predates the mainstream popularity of science fiction proper, and does not necessarily feature any scientific rigor, being instead romantic tales of high adventure. For example, little thought is given to explaining why the environment of the alien planet is compatible with life from Earth, just that it does in order to allow the hero to move about and interact with the natives. Native technology will often break the known laws of physics.

The genre tag "sword and planet" is constructed to mimic the terms sword and sorcery and sword and sandal. The phrase appears to have first been coined in the 1960s by Donald A. Wollheim, editor of Ace Books, and later of DAW Books at a time when the genre was undergoing a revival. Both Ace Books and DAW Books were instrumental in bringing much of the earlier pulp sword and planet stories back into print, as well as publishing a great deal of new, imitative work by a new generation of authors.

There is a fair amount of overlap between sword and planet and planetary romance although some works are considered to belong to one and not the other. Influenced by the likes of A Princess of Mars yet more modern and technologically savvy, sword and planet more directly imitates the conventions established by Burroughs in the Mars series. That is to say that the hero is alone as the only human being from Earth, swords are the weapon of choice, and while the alien planet has some advanced technology, it is used only in limited applications to advance the plot or increase the grandeur of the setting. In general the alien planet will seem to be more medieval and primitive than Earth. This leads to anachronistic situations such as flying ships held aloft by anti-gravity technology, while ground travel is done by riding domesticated native animals.

Swords of Mars

Swords of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book as a six-part serial in the issues for November 1934 to April 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in February 1936.


Tarkas is a genus of the Salticidae family (jumping spiders). The single described species, Tarkas maculatipes, is endemic to Mexico and Guatemala.The genus is named after the character Tars Tarkas from the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars.

Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. A great warrior and leader among his people (the brutal and mirthless Tharks), he possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race. In the first novel, A Princess of Mars, with the help of the newly arrived Earth man John Carter, he becomes Jeddak, or king, of the Tharks.

Tars Tarkas is the first Barsoomian John Carter encounters when he appears on Mars. When Tars Tarkas discovers Carter inspecting the Tharks' incubator (in which the tribe's eggs are sealed for up to five years prior to hatching), he attempts to kill Carter. The attempt fails, and Tars Tarkas instead takes Carter prisoner and transports him back to the nearby dead city, in which a group of Tharks have taken up temporary residence. When Carter kills one of the Tharks in combat, Tars Tarkas informs him he has gained his opponent's rank and possessions.

Over the course of the next weeks, Carter comes to respect Tars Tarkas for his abilities as a warrior and statesman. Carter also discovers that Tars Tarkas has a secret: long ago he fell in love and had a child (egg) with his lover, Gozava, two actions punishable by death in the Tharks' culture. Tars Tarkas and Gozava hid the egg and incubated it in secret. Tars Tarkas was ordered away on a long military expedition, and when the child finally hatched, Gozava managed to mingle her child with the newborn children from the communal incubator. Gozava's maternity (although not the child's identity) was discovered, and she was tortured and killed by the Tharkian chieftain Tal Hajus for the crime of childbearing. However, even under torture she refused to reveal the name of the child's father. The daughter's name is Sola, and she befriends Carter and tells him the story of her birth and the identity of her father.

When he learns this, Carter's sympathy and admiration for Tars Tarkas increases, and he resolves to do all he can to help. Over time, the two become friends, and Carter, after escaping the Tharks in the course of his pursuit of Dejah Thoris, returns to them and helps engineer a duel between Tars Tarkas and Tal Hajus, the Jeddak of Thark. Tars Tarkas wins the duel, and according to Tharkian law becomes Jeddak. In exchange for Carter's help, Tars Tarkas becomes one of Carter's closest allies. He appears in a number of the other novels in the series.


Thark or Tharks are a fictional tribe of fierce Green Martian warriors on the fictional planet of Barsoom (based on Mars), created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and first featured in the 1917 novel A Princess of Mars.

The Gods of Mars

The Gods of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the second of his Barsoom series. It was first published in The All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January–May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C. McClurg in September, 1918.

As in many of his novels, Burroughs begins with a frame story that explains how he (Burroughs) came into possession of the text, implying it recounts true events.

The Outlaw of Torn

The Outlaw of Torn is a historical novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, originally published as a five-part serial in New Story Magazine from January to May 1914, and first published in book form by A. C. McClurg in 1927. It was Burroughs' second novel, his first being the science fiction work A Princess of Mars. His third was Tarzan of the Apes.

The Outlaw of Torn is one of only two historical novels Burroughs wrote. The other, I Am a Barbarian, set in the Rome of Caligula, was not published until 1967, seventeen years after his death.

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